Canadian Teachers’ Federation Special Recognition Awards highlight service to education and teaching profession

July 15, 2010
Edmonton… Three teacher leaders and a former Minister of Education are recipients of this year’s CTF Special Recognition Awards. The awards are presented to individuals for meritorious services to education and/or the teaching profession at the interprovincial, territorial, national or international levels. CTF President Mary-Lou Donnelly is presenting the awards today at a noon-hour celebration during the Federation’s Annual General Meeting.

Details of the CTF National Awards celebration:

When: Thursday, July 15, 2010
Time:  11:45 am
Where: Sutton Place Hotel, Edmonton
What:  Presentation of Outstanding Aboriginal Educator Award, CTF Recognition Awards and Public Education Advocacy Award

This year’s recipients of the CTF Special Recognition Awards are:

Bob Fitzpatrick, New Brunswick Teachers’ Association (NBTA)

Bob Fitzpatrick is someone whose mantra has always been to “serve” rather than to “impress”.  Providing the best advice possible to teachers in need has always been his priority. Many New Brunswick teachers have spent the majority of their careers knowing that if they needed advice or simply had to be heard on an issue, they could “call Bob.” Elected NBTA President in 1989, Bob served for two years in that role before returning to his Principalship in his hometown of Chatham, Miramichi. This proved to be only a brief hiatus from these provincial responsibilities as he was back in 1993 assuming the role of NBTA Executive Director, a position he has held until 2010. A strong champion of CTF, Bob has served with distinction in numerous capacities with the Federation to promote the teaching profession and education in Canada. His career in education spans over three decades.

Donna Marie Kennedy, Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA)

Donna Marie Kennedy is a teacher advocate “par excellence”. As local president, she put her acute political instinct to work advocating on behalf of members with the school board and OECTA’s Council of Presidents. Her conviction, perseverance and eloquence resulted in her nomination to the first Governing Council of the new College of Teachers in 1997. The council elected her its first chair, a key period as teacher representatives struggled to take ownership of “their” governing body.

As chair, Donna Marie, led resistance within the college to the Harris government’s “teacher testing” agenda, continuing that fight when she was elected OECTA’s first vice-president in 2002. She supported OECTA’s political action activities in order to elect an education-friendly provincial government. When the Liberal government took office in 2003, the discredited Professional Learning Plan, the scheme for perpetual recertification was cancelled. During her four years as OECTA President, she led her association to new strengths in collective bargaining with the first four-year framework agreement, and in expanding professional development courses.

David King nominated by The Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA)

David King is an advocate for strong teacher organizations and a very good friend and ally of the teaching profession. David is clear about his position on charter and private schools, therefore supporting teachers’ associations/federations’ policies. As Minister of Education, he was responsible for the establishment of many initiatives such as the computer technology in schools program, the designated community schools program, the teacher internship program, just to name a few. He has made several presentations at numerous Real Learning First symposia, adding his authoritative voice to the ATA’s work on accountability and education policy. David King served longer as Minister of Education in Alberta than has anyone with the province in the past 30 years. Originally from Perth, Ontario, David King has devoted his life in the world of politics, and since, in his role as an advocate for public education.

Lyle Vinish, Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF)

Throughout his 33-year career in education, Lyle Vinish has been a strong supporter for the teaching profession locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. Before being nominated as STF General Secretary (2003-2008), Lyle served five years as Assistant General Secretary and 13 years as an Executive Assistant in Teacher Welfare. His work at STF followed 10 years as a classroom teacher. Lyle was a member of the Teachers’ Superannuation Commission for 15 years and the Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Retirement Plan for 12 years. He also provided support for the STF Provincial Bargaining Committee for 14 years. As General Secretary, he took on the role of chief negotiator for the teacher team. Lyle also played a significant leadership role in the negotiation of a national reciprocal pension transfer agreement among the teacher pension plans across the country. The purpose was to enhance opportunities for teacher mobility within Canada. An agreement was completed in 2001.


The Canadian Teachers’ Federation speaks for nearly 200,000 teachers in Canada as their national voice on education and related social issues. CTF membership includes teacher organizations across Canada. CTF is also a member of the international body of teachers, Education International.

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Comments: Mary-Lou Donnelly, CTF President

Media Contact: Francine Filion, Director of Communications, 613-899-4247 (cell)